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Engineering Deans' Support For LGBTQ Inclusion

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Research on Diversification, Inclusion, and Empathy I

Tagged Division

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society

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Paper Authors


Erin A. Cech Rice University

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Erin Cech is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Rice University. Before coming to Rice in 2012, Cech was a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford’s Clayman Institute for Gender Research. She earned her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, San Diego and B.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering and Sociology from Montana State University. Cech’s research seeks to uncover cultural mechanisms of inequality reproduction--particularly gender, sexual identity and racial/ethnic inequality within science and engineering professions. Her current research projects focus on the recruitment and retention of women, racial/ethnic minority and LGBTQ individuals and the role of professional cultures in inequality in STEM.

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Tom J. Waidzunas Temple University

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Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Temple University

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Stephanie Farrell Rowan University

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Dr. Stephanie Farrell is Professor of Chemical Engineering at Rowan University (USA) and was 2014-15 Fulbright Scholar in Engineering Education at Dublin Institute of Technology (Ireland). She obtained her PhD in Chemical Engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology in 1996. Prior to joining the faculty at Rowan in 1998, she was an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering and Adjunct Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Louisiana Tech University until 1998. Dr. Farrell has contributed to engineering education through her work in experiential learning, focusing on areas of pharmaceutical, biomedical and food engineering. She has been honored by the American Society of Engineering Education with several teaching awards such as the 2004 National Outstanding Teaching Medal and the 2005 Quinn Award for experiential learning. Stephanie has conducted workshops on a variety of topics including effective teaching, inductive teaching strategies and the use of experiments and demonstrations to enhance learning.

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Over the last several years, scholars have started to investigate processes of disadvantage and exclusion faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) faculty, students and professionals in engineering. Although this research is only beginning to document the contours of these issues, it suggests that successful social change in engineering requires that equality and inclusion be advanced through multiple fronts in engineering education, including the policies and perspectives of engineering administrators and leaders. In this paper, we draw on survey data (currently being collected) from over 40 deans and Program Directors of U.S. Engineering and Engineering Technology colleges and programs to understand their views on LGBTQ-inclusive practices and policies. In particular, our paper describes (1) deans’ assessment of the climate in their college for LGBTQ students and faculty, (2) deans’ personal support for LGBTQ equality and inclusion measures (e.g. faculty-wide Safe Zone training, hiring initiatives, inclusion of LGBTQ status in non-discrimination statements in job advertisements) and (3) deans’ perception of support among their faculty and students for LGBTQ inclusion measures. These findings provide important insights into the cultural and policy landscapes in engineering education for LGBTQ individuals and the (un)supportiveness of this key group of stakeholders of the promotion of LGBTQ equality.

Cech, E. A., & Waidzunas, T. J., & Farrell, S. (2016, June), Engineering Deans' Support For LGBTQ Inclusion Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26633

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